On February 25, I traveled to New York with four people I had never met before. The next day, I started to meet other girls aged 12-18 that would be serving as youth delegates at the Commission on the Status of Women. For the most part, we had few things in common: our attendance of the conference, our gender and our age. After spending a week attending sessions, meetings and events, I feel like we’re all leaving with something of a connection. The CSW has opened my eyes to issues I’d never really thought about and to the options I can have in my future. I am leaving incredibly inspired to make a change and I know that my fellow youth delegates feel the same.
I have met so many amazing and inspiring young women since I first arrived and I feel like we’ve all had an opportunity to get to know each other. The girls and even a couple boys that I have met while in New York have traveled anywhere from a 15 minute cab ride to a 22 hour plane ride just for this event.
The stories shared this week have brought all of us to a certain understanding and I know that I will never forget the true stories and raw feelings we all shared. My greatest connections made during the week came primarily with the girls from Plan International. Working with them was the best part of the conference. They told Hannah, Olivia and I all about their village lives as well as their private lives. We had some of the most in-depth conversations about countless random topics. I almost want to say that saying goodbye to them was, emotionally, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
I wasn’t really able to spend a lot of time with the girls today, due to our flight home. The girls slept in this morning so I was only able to give a quick hug and exchange my information. I wasn’t even able to say goodbye to one of the girls. I held it together pretty well but once I stepped into the streets it really hit me that I may never see those girls again. At that point, I couldn’t stop my tears.
The CSW has been an experience I will never forget. Not a day will go by without me thinking about one of the girls I met here or an event from New York. I hope that someday I will be able to participate in something like the CSW, again. Until then, I am going to share my experiences and aim to leave my mark starting locally, taking it nationally and ultimately globally. The CSW has changed my goals and I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of the 56th conference.